Economy & Politics

Solidarity for restaurateurs is organized online

If the general deconfinement will be lifted next Monday, the Horeca sector will not, however, be able to reopen before June. To cope with this difficult period, online platforms have emerged to help businesses hit hard by the crisis.

Anne-Sophie DE LA BARRE DE NANTEUIL-BEDEL

If the general deconfinement will be lifted next Monday, the Horeca sector will not, however, be able to reopen before June. To cope with this difficult period, online platforms have emerged to help businesses hit hard by the crisis.

Monday June 1 appears as the end of the tunnel. On this date, the country’s bars, cafes and restaurants should reopen. At least, if the “contamination figures allow it”, stressed the Prime Minister in early May. In total, almost three months of closure with the main consequence of a complete absence of income.

In accordance with the general call for solidarity launched in March, several initiatives have emerged to enable businesses and some 2,800 Horeca players to survive the virus. Whether at sectoral level with the CLC Kaaft Lokal project or at municipal level with the site launched by the city of Dudelange maindiddeleng.lu. A common point between these platforms, they offer vouchers to pay now and to be exchanged later, during the takeover. Their goal: to bring a little cash to the traders now to prevent them from drowning.


People walk in the shopping street 'Getreidegasse' in the old town in Salzburg, Austria on May 2, 2020. - Austrian citizens are allowed to leave the house for non-essential trips as it eases coronavirus lockdown measures, but said limits on gatherings and social distancing rules would remain in place. From May 2, 2020, shopping centers, hairdressers and all shops with more than 400 square meters of sales area are allowed to reopen, including the major electrical retailers, fashion chains, furniture stores and sports equipment retailers. (Photo by BARBARA GINDL / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT

Nicolas Henckes welcomed the reopening of stores for May 11 with some satisfaction. But the director of the Luxembourg Trade Confederation (CLC) expects more from the state to support the sector.


To date, only one platform is aimed exclusively at companies in the gastronomy sector. Called LuxFoodHall.lu, it was launched in early May, the result of collaboration between the Hungry Days in Town association and the Quattro Creative studio. This virtual “market place” thus lists around twenty “restaurants, producers and food shops in Luxembourg”. From the Café des Capucins to the star Les Jardins d’Anaïs, including the Winebrations wine merchant, Internet users can therefore afford menus, boxes or groceries to collect later.

Seeing further than the current crisis, the voluntary site tends to “offer online visibility to a sector that has little interest in digital strategies”, in the words of Giovanni Farinella, co-founder of the site. A presence on the Internet like the platform of the Ministry of Economy Letzshop.lu for shops. Thus, much more than a simple solidarity, “it is a gesture for the future”, specifies this passionate of gastronomy. In other words, a new way of thinking about restoration.

Activity down 90%

Because if cafes and restaurants are preparing to raise the curtain in a few weeks, there is little chance of a return to normal. “People will not rush into restaurants as soon as they reopen,” says Giovanni Farinella, referring to the persistent fear of a second wave of infections. And with social distancing measures still in force, “restaurateurs will not be able to sell out”. The site will then offer “additional income” to a sector in difficulty.

Especially since the start of the pandemic, the Horeca has been hit hard. According to its latest data, Statec thus figures the decline in the hotel and restaurant business to 90%. In total, no less than 81% of employees in the sector were on short-time working in April.

Faced with these difficulties, the sector could find it difficult to recover. Because if the main municipalities of the country have announced to renounce the rents of the premises belonging to them, the professionals of the sector must always face fixed costs, such as water, electricity or telecommunications. In mid-April, the president of Horesca Alain Rix warned that almost one in five companies was at risk of shutting down.


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